The Social Security Disability system in the United States is very complicated. Whether you are a recently disabled father trying to provide for your family, a single mother who can no longer work because of an illness, or the parent of a child who needs extra help because of a challenging condition, obtaining benefits is not easy. The “system” involves a complex set of rules and requirements that make it very hard for the average person to successfully receive payments.

There is hope, however, and we appreciate you looking for help here. Our law firm provides unique benefits to clients just like you, which include:

  • A singular focus on representing the injured and disabled.
  • Having all important work performed by an experienced disability attorney.
  • A guarantee that you pay no fees unless you obtain social security disability benefits.
  • A proven track record of success in both routine and difficult cases.

Regardless of whether you are considering filing for benefits for the first time, or have been denied numerous times in the past, please call our office at (404) 255-9838. We will discuss your options free of charge, and help you make an informed decision about what to do next. We look forward to talking with you.

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You might not know this but disability benefits claims filed in some states have a much higher chance of being approved.

While the Social Security Disability Insurance program is a federal program, claims in some states have a higher approval rate.  According to data, Georgia ranks at number 26 on a list of states based on their disability claims approval rates.

The data shows that Georgia had a 48.4% approval rate for Social Security disability claims in 2020. While that is lower than the approval rates of at least 24 other states, it is better than the national average approval rate for 2020 which was just about 45%.  It was also much higher than the state’s poor performance in 2019. In that year, the approval rate for disability claims was a dismal 43.1 %. In 2019, Georgia ranked Number 33 on the list for claims approvals.  The average disability benefit paid out in Georgia in 2020 was $1,260.

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It’s finally confirmed. All field offices of the Social Security Administration, which have been closed for more than two years, will finally open on April 7.

Field offices of the Social Security Administration have been closed since March 17, 2020, after the first cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the US.  Since then, services have moved online, but online transactions have been far from smooth.  This has resulted in long wait times and delays in the processing of claims. The Social Security Administration has also offered the option of mail services during this time. However, for many, especially people in rural areas and those without access to technology and transportation, this transition has been a challenging one.  As a result, the number of claims that were filed during this time as well as the speed of processing, has dropped.

Now that it seems like the worst of the pandemic is behind us, the Social Security Administration is finally opening up its offices. You can now visit your local field office for help with your Social Security disability insurance payments, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income benefits and other activities.  Make sure that you wear a mask to stay safe when you enter a field office.

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In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden tackled an issue that has long been on his agenda. The President called for a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

That proposal, along with the capping of the price of insulin at $35, was included in the Build Back Better bill that failed in the Senate last year.  However, it is clear the president does not intend to give up on this subject.  He expressed his hopes that Congress would permit Medicare in the future to negotiate drug prices.  The agency is currently not allowed to negotiate the prices of pharmaceutical drugs.

The Build Back Better bill had included provisions for Medicare to be allowed to negotiate prices starting with an initial list of 10 drugs. That number would ultimately have increased to 20 drugs by the year 2028. The bill had also included provisions to cap out -of- pocket spending for Medicare beneficiaries at $2000 for drug benefits.  Unfortunately, the bill failed in the Senate, but hopefully these measures that are so important to strengthen the social security safety net for millions of Americans, will be taken up again in the future.

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The Social Security Administration recently added a number of new conditions that are eligible for expedited processing of disability benefits under its Compassionate Allowances program.

The Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program allows for persons who are suffering from certain chronic or serious conditions to receive disability benefits quicker.  Claims filed under this program are eligible for expedited processing.  You might have your claim for disability benefits processed in a matter of weeks rather than several months or even a year as with a regular claim.

The list of conditions that are eligible for expedited processing is updated regularly.   That list now includes 12 new conditions including different types of carcinomas as well as disabling muscular disorders.  They are:

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The Social Security Administration does not include endometriosis as a condition eligible for disability benefits in its Blue Book of impairments that qualify for disability benefits. However, this does not mean that you cannot qualify for benefits for this condition.

Endometriosis is a condition that affects primarily women of reproductive age between the age of 20 and 40 years. It is a condition in which the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus.  In some cases, endometrial tissue may be even seen away from the reproductive organs.  The endometrial tissue also disintegrates and bleeds during the menstrual cycle, but has no way of exiting the body. The condition, therefore, can result in symptoms like inflammation and severe pain. Infertility is a common side effect of endometriosis. In fact, as many as 40% of women who suffer from endometriosis also suffer from infertility.

The pain is often described as severely intense menstrual pain.  Endometrial pain, unlike with a typical menstrual cycle, can begin several days before the menstrual period and last for several days after.  A person suffering from endometriosis may experience several days of living with constant and severe pain that makes it difficult for her to function normally.

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Persons who suffer from epilepsy may also experience intense feelings of anxiety over the possibility of suffering seizures.  This condition in which a person suffers anticipatory anxiety over suffering seizures is called seizure phobia, and is very common among patients with epilepsy. New studies reveal that as many as one -third of epileptic patients suffer from such phobia.

Earlier studies have also found an increased risk of anxiety and depression in persons who suffer from epilepsy. Much of this anxiety stems from the anticipation of seizures. Previous studies have found that as many as 53% of persons who suffer from epilepsy also suffer from such anxiety over the possibility of seizures.   While science has been aware of the increased incidence of anxiety in persons who suffer from epilepsy, seizure phobia as a distinct anxiety-related disorder in epilepsy patients has not been sufficiently studied until now.

According to the new study whose findings were released by Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy, the risk of seizure phobia is especially high in persons who suffer from epilepsy and also have a history of anxiety. Persons who experienced seizure phobia were much more likely to have also experienced manic depressive episodes in the past. Overall, persons with a pre-existing history of anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder seem to be much more likely to suffer from seizure phobia.

 

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This March, the International Society of Nephrology is marking March 10th as World Kidney Day.  World Kidney Days seeks to bring attention to the millions of people all over the world who live with this condition.  Approximately one out of every 10 people worldwide suffer from Kidney Disease.

With the global COVID-19 pandemic, people with kidney disease have more needs.  People who suffer from any kind of kidney disease are already much more susceptible to the infection. Also, a Covid infection can significantly impact the kidneys, causing kidney failure and other complications in patients. Among patients who have suffered a mild version of the infection, there may be no severe impact on the kidney. However, persons who have suffered from severe symptoms of Covid could suffer from long – lasting kidney failure.

Persons who suffer from kidney failure may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. As with any other disability or medical condition, in order to qualify for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program, your condition must be expected to last for at least 12 months or must have lasted for at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration lists kidney – related disorders under section 6 of its blue book that is related to genitourinary conditions. If you are currently on dialysis, suffer from kidney disease with reduced kidney function, or have had a kidney transplant, you might find that your claim is easier to process.  However, even if your case does not fall in the above -mentioned categories, you could still qualify for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program.

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This March, multiple sclerosis patient advocacy organisations in Georgia and around the country will mark National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week between March 13 through 19. The commemoration is designed to bring greater awareness to the unique challenges that persons with multiple sclerosis face every day.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it can help to find people in your community who can help you access the information you need as you move forward with life with multiple sclerosis.  The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has chapters around the country, including in Georgia. The Georgia chapter, which has its main office in Atlanta, has planned several events to mark National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week.

A number of events are being planned throughout Georgia.  MS walks and other events will bring awareness about this condition and raise funds for multiple sclerosis advocacy initiatives.  If you are interested in raising additional funds for research, you can also take an MS leadership class in March. The Georgia chapter also connects individuals living with multiple sclerosis and their families with services that can help them on this journey. These services include references for professionals in this field, peer counselling, social programs, networking, recreational services and other types of services.

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If you ask most women about their biggest health fear, many would reply cancer, specifically breast cancer.  This is in spite of the fact that more women in the United States die from heart disease than any cancer.  Heart disease kills as many as six times the number of women every year as breast cancer.

Cardiac disease is by far the single biggest killer of women in the United States.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, more than 300,000 women died from heart disease. In fact, heart disease was named as a cause in one out of every five female deaths that year.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also estimates that only about half of women understand how big of a risk heart disease is.

To understand why there is such a lack of awareness about the risk of heart disease among women, it’s important to understand how certain types of cancer, specifically breast cancer, affect a woman’s sense of self esteem or sexuality.  Also, according to a paper by Harvard University, heart disease typically strikes women above the age of 65, which mean that most women do not give heart disease a thought until they reach that age. Women in their 40s or 50s would be much more likely to know people in their circle who have had breast cancer, but not heart disease.

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If pandemic- related conditions do not worsen, all field offices of the Social Security Administration are set to open on March 30, 2022. This is good news for disability beneficiaries and applicants as well as people waiting to apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Social Security offices around the country have been closed for two years. When the pandemic hit, Social Security offices in Georgia and around the country went into shutdown mode. Since March 2020, all work has been done via phone, mail or virtually.

In- person visits at many offices will start soon. However, that depends on negotiations between Social Security workers’ unions and the federal administration. According to the results of these negotiations, field offices are set to open on March 30, provided there are no more changes in the current pandemic-related restrictions.

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